Alena Ozerova/ShutterstockYou may have noticed the word “hygge” coming up a lot in 2017, and even tried to incorporate it into your home and lifestyle. It’s the Danish ideal of “coziness”—and a great excuse to relish in warm, lumpy socks, decorate with fuzzy pillows, and have friends over instead of dine out in an accepting, tender environment. With winter right around the corner, you may want to brush up on hygge with this primer. Now the Swedes are flexing their Scandinavian influence with a new concept called “lagom”: It’s the Swedish concept of “not too much, not too little.”
Unlike hygge, which is a feeling, lagom is an ethos of moderation. Lagom is all about conscious unselfishness—the idea that we all have the responsibility not to overconsume so that there’s plenty to go around for everyone.
In her new book Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living, Niki Brantmark explains how to capture and embody lagom. Reuse and reclaim old items, for example. Be environmentally conscious and frugal. Use reclaimed wood for your next home upgrade, or purchase clothes from a thrift store.
Growing your own food is another way to practice lagom. And you don’t need a full garden: Herb boxes can allow you to grow fresh plants right in your kitchen and can help save you some money on your grocery bill each week. You can apply this to your diet, as well—eating in moderation captures the lagom spirit. Brantmark stresses the idea that we all have the responsibility to not overconsume. As lagom has it, there is enough to go around for everyone.
Clearly, the concept can be a money saver—by not always lusting after the latest fashions and technology and getting by with what you have, you could save thousands of dollars. Lagom can have a societal impact as well: Sweden has put the concept in practice through the embrace of wind, hydro, and solar sources of energy, which accounts for 52 percent of the electricity used, making Sweden the number one country in the world in its use of sustainable energy.